What is the Government’s Plan B and when would we have to use it?

Sajid Javid set out contingency plans yesterday to prevent Covid infections surging over winter.

He faced jeers from backbenchers as he announced potential measures in Commons, including a return of mandatory face masks and vaccine passports for crowded venues.

The Government has a few alternative plans in a bid to stave off coronavirus cases and prevent the NHS being overwhelmed during its busy winter months.

It would prefer to stick with ‘Plan A’, an enhanced vaccination programme with jabs offered to 12 to 15-year-olds, and booster shots for over-50s.

It will also include a £5.4billion cash injection to the NHS in England and a continuation of restrictions on international travel and isolation of people who test positive.

But should that fail and the health service finds itself under ‘unsustainable pressure’, Javid says a ‘Plan B’ has been prepared.

It is thought fresh legislation would be needed if any further lockdowns are needed, but the Health Secretary said the Government waned to retain powers for restrictions in local areas if required.

What is Plan B?

Vaccine passports

Sadiq Khan has been pushing for the right to introduce a by-law making it legally enforceable.

If cases get considerably worse, then it could become a legal requirement all over the country once again to wear face coverings in indoor public places.

This would require new legislation and the range of places it would apply to would be decided at the time.

When would we have to use Plan B?

Health Secretary Sajid Javid says he wants to avoid ‘unsustainable pressure’ on the NHS (Picture: Getty Images)

The Government has not set out a clear threshold that would have to be crossed in order to trigger Plan B.

Javid said today that there is no ‘single trigger’ but that pressure on the NHS would be the biggest factor.

The Health Secretary told BBC Breakfast: ‘We don’t want to get to a position ever again where there’s unsustainable pressure on the NHS so it’s not able to see people in the usual way when it needs to, particularly emergency patients.

‘So in my mind that is the number one issue that we need to always, always keep an eye on.’

Currently there is an average of just over 750 Covid hospital admissions per day in England.

But this could reach 2,000 to 7,000 next month, according to modelling produced by Sage.

However, the scientists said a ‘relatively light set of measures’ could keep numbers down if put into action early enough.

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